History of our Club
Early in 1923, a group of twelve Croatian men, under the leadership of Rok Dominick, met and the American Croatian Political Club was organized. On May 11, 1923, the following men drew up the Articles of Incorporation : Rok Dominick, Michael G. Pozega, M. E. Lukesic, John Zvosecz, Mike Kanoti, Joseph Rebok, Martin Knezetic, Frank Kostelich, George Marks, John Radman, Frank Fertalj, Paul Siladi. At their regular monthly meeting, held at 1688 E. 28th St., and better known as "Dominick's Hall", the men signed the Articles of incorporation and a Notary Public by the name of William F Hurley witnessed their signatures.
On May 12, 1923, the Articles of Incorporation were registered in the Lorain County Courthouse, Elyria, Ohio. The registration was made by C. M. Williams, Registrar for Lorain County. The Articles of Incorporation were then forwarded to the Secretary of the State of Ohio in Columbus. On May 14, 1923, Thad Brown, then Secretary of State, signed the Articles of Incorporation and granted the Charter to the American Croatian Political Club, with the following purposes of the organization:
'To assist in Americanization of Croatians and those of Croatian descent in Lorain; to stimulate interest and study of the city, state, and national forms of government and to actively participate in the election of the officials thereof; to instruct Croatians and those of Croatian descent who were not citizens of the United States of America and to enable them to become citizens; to promote social and educational advancement of Croatians and those of Croatian descent in the City of Lorain, Ohio; to maintain clubrooms for social entertainment and education which can be lawfully conducted for the physical and intellectual development of the members of the club; to participate diligently in promoting of the progress of this locality in moral respect; according to its means, to aid all cultural and educational organizations, such as sports, singing clubs, and libraries; In the event of change of name, the word "Croatian"shall not be omitted."
Shortly after the completion of St. Vitus Church at the corner of East 32nd St. and Pearl Ave., the meetings were held in the basement of the church. The first elected president of the American Croatian Political Club was Mr. Martin Knezetic, who served faithfully for the next 25 years. The first duly elected Secretary was Mr. Steve Keshery. In 1947, the Club, under the leadership of then President Joseph B. Grubic, applied to the Department of Liquor Control, State of Ohio, for a liquor license. This permit was granted on January 11, 1948, and the old Grove Theater was leased for the purpose of our general clubroom and meeting room. In 1950, under the leadership of President Joseph M. Katkic, the club purchased Dianne's Recreation. This included the bowling lanes and the restaurant on the comer. The restaurant was converted into the new clubroom and the lanes were modernized for public use. In 1953, under the leadership of Mrs. Katherine Lukesic, the American Croatian Ladies Auxiliary was organized. On December 2, 1953, their first election was held and Mrs. Mary Prianic Sislowski was elected president. In 1960, under the leadership of President Joseph M. Katkic, the club bought the Grove Theater and remodeled it into our clubroom. The old clubroom was then remodeled with the help of the Lira Tamburitzans, C. F. U. Lodges 136 and 140, the Ladies Auxiliary and members of the club. It was known as the "Lira Room." It was used as a meeting room and rented out to the public for small doings. Our "Block W" bar, manufactured by Freeworth, Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio, was said to be the only one of its kind between Chicago and New York.
In October of 1997, the American Croatian Club sold its building and property on the comer of E. 28th Street and Grove Ave. to the Rite-Aid Pharmacy chain. While the deal was in the best interest of the Club, the prospect of leaving the South Lorain location of the Clubs longtime home, left mixed feelings in the hearts of many of our members. In April of 1998, the Club purchased the Riviera Swim Club at 4850 Oberlin Avenue in Lorain from Tom and Sandy Ivancic. As a private swim club, Riviera had been a landmark recreation facility on the west side of Lorain for over 30 years. The 3 acre plus parcel includes 3 swimming pools, volleyball courts, basketball court, playground equipment and picnic pavilion. On April 15, 2000 a new clubroom, rental hall and space to house a cultural center were added. If not for the hard work and dedication of many individuals (too numerous to mention) our club would have never made it this far.